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into a mental motor and speed rapidly from one side of a question to another?”
Surely the parable of the motor should make us believe in the existence of a missing link in the chain of mutual understanding which ought to bind all humanity together. And if that lost link cannot be found, may we not ourselves manufacture one? (As a moral-monger it is with difficulty that I here refrain from alluding to the "flaming forge of Life" as an appropriate workshop for the manufacture of missing links.) It is, at least, in harmony with my parable to suggest that every good chauffeur should be a skilled mechanic as well as a driver.
By way of an irrelevant postscript, I will mention that when I stepped in yesterday for a cup of tea with the lady who “could not see how any self-respecting person could own a motor," I found her snowed under a pile of circulars stating the rival claims of various automobiles.
“Should you advise me to get a runabout, or a touring-car?” she asked with perfect seriousness.
But I could not choose between them, for what I consider the most important part of motors -- the parable -- was equally sound in each.
SCHOOL CHILDREN OF FRANCE
BY OCTAVE FORSANT
The four compositions given below, taken from the collection of papers written for the examinations for the Diploma in 1915, and reproduced word for word, give a clearer idea than any commentary of the mental qualities of the children of Rheims. I may add that the details given are as exact as possible.
This is how young André Deligny describes the entry of the Germans at Rheims on September 4, 1914.
“After breakfast, and without asking my parents' leave, because I knew very well that it would not have been granted, I started out alone to see the Germans, who had just arrived in the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville. In front of the Mayor's office I saw ten or twelve horses hitched to lamp-posts; some German cavalry were going to and fro on the opposite sidewalk, with their hands behind their backs and looking rather ill at ease. One of the policemen who were holding back the crowd made us fall back, saying that the German Staff was just coming. It was n't long before they came. A magnificent limousine drove out of rue Colbert. Five officers got out, revolvers in hand, and the car went in under the arch at the left.
“Suddenly there was a loud report like a clap of thunder. We pricked up our ears, but the policeman reassured us, saying that the Germans were firing blank
shots to celebrate the arrival of their staff. In a minute there was a second shot, and a third, and finally a fourth which sounded much louder than the others. At the same time pieces of iron and lumps of lead came tumbling down from the roofs near-by, and the policeman cried, “Sauve qui peut!'
“I understood then that it was a bombardment. I ran off in a fright; I don't even know now through what streets I ran, until I came out on Place d'Erlon. The square was deserted; there was nothing to be seen but an abandoned tram-car, without a conductor. At that sight I was more frightened than ever, I ran faster, and during that frantic race I had to lie flat on my stomach several times for fear of the shells. At last I got home: my mother was standing at the door, anxious enough; but I told her I was all right and confessed my disobedience. That bombardment taught me a lesson, and I determined not to go out any more without my parents' consent. I was made very sad by what I had seen: they were the first atrocities committed by the Germans in Rheims, where they were to commit so many others.”
Young Angéline Menny describes in these words the return of the French to Rheims eight days after September 12, as the result of the victory of the Marne.
“The eighth day we had spent under the German yoke had come to an end, as always, in sadness and despair. Suddenly a cannon-shot like a thunder-clap made us jump. Two or three more followed, and then the cannon roared without interruption. Hope sprang again: could it be the French returning? After a sleepless night during which we heard the rain and wind and
cannon roaring, we were just going home when – oh, a miracle! — we saw in the distance the red trousers. In a few seconds all the streets were hung with flags. We had suffered so terribly to see our city occupied by the enemy and to hear the Boches singing their hymn of victory in every street! How great was our joy to see our defenders once more! We no longer felt our weariness. Everybody ran after them; people embraced them and laughed, and wept, and acted like madmen. You would have said that a mother had found her child who she thought was lost.
“The shops were not large enough for their customrs; everybody was offering sweets to our liberators. When they came in front of the Hôtel de Ville, the Mayor received them and saluted them from the steps. Many Germans surrendered in the streets. That will be the happiest day of my life.”
Lecoq Raymond, a pupil, tells in these words of one of the numerous bombardments of which he was a spectator and nearly a victim.
“Day before yesterday we were just eating breakfast. It was half-past seven when a shell passed over, our heads and burst a hundred metres away. We jumped to our feet and listened. The shells were falling now by fours in our quarter and bursting with a tremendous crash. From the house we could hear the noise of falling tiles and beams and all sorts of things. Through the open window - it was a warm morning — we watched the smoke, sometimes white, sometimes gray or reddish, rise in the air, taking strange shapes; and at the same time the fumes of burning powder got into our throats. The hissing noises came fast, one on another.
A shell burst 50 metres from our house; a yellowish smoke rose from it, and with a sharp hiss a fragment buried itself in the wall a metre from the window. We hurried down into the cellar and stayed there an hour; then, as the bombardment had stopped, we went up, and resumed our ordinary life.
“The next day I went out to see what damage had been done: unhappily there was a great deal. As I walked along, I saw the doors of the shops which were still occupied open; people went and came without hurrying, looking at the ruins. A traveling kitchen went through the street with a pleasant smell of soup. Housekeepers were going to and fro, one with a basket on her arm. A nice old man who had not left his house went out to get his newspaper. For my part, I took my school satchel and went off to school, where I tried to work hard so as to obtain the Diploma as a reward of my efforts.”
Last of the four, Georgette Thierrus tells the story of the battle of Thillois, near Rheims, which she saw with
her own eyes.
“In the last ten months many historical events have occurred: one of them happened in my village, and I shall never forget it. Early in September the villages near mine were occupied by the Germans; ours was visited by only a few of the enemy. But on the second, about four o'clock in the afternoon, the invaders appeared, to the number of several thousand. They quartered themselves and passed the night in the houses and lofts and barns. The next morning they started early and dug trenches in the fields. Several officers said to us, 'Hide in your cellars or clear out; the French are coming and we're going to fight.'